I love dreams. I find them fascinating, and really enjoy trying to work out what various elements of my dreams could be linked to in my waking life.
Over the last week or two though, my dreams have become particularly vivid. Nothing especially interesting happens in them, but they are just so real. In particular the emotions I feel in the dreams are so powerful.
I felt really quite low one day last week, after waking from a dream where I just felt down and unmotivated. The whole dream was so vivid, and I felt the emotions so strongly, it just stuck with me all day.
And I just feel that there has to be a reason why, all of sudden, my dreams are like this.
We can rule one thing out straight away. I’m not pregnant! Pregnancy can do very weird things to your dreams, I had some very strange dreams during both of my pregnancies, but that’s definitely not a factor for me right now.
So what is behind my suddenly vivid dreams?
It could be as simple as the fact that I can often be found lying in bed with the ipad next to me, watching Netflix as I fall asleep. Now we all know that the things we experience in our day to day life can crop up in our dreams. so it makes sense that falling asleep while watching a particular program can mean that elements of what we watched appear in our dreams.
What’s interesting though is that we can take elements that resonate emotionally with us, even on a subconscious level, and incorporate that into our dreams.
Stress and anxiety.
I think this is more likely to be one of the reasons behind my suddenly vivid dreams. I’ve definitely been feeling quite anxious and stressed lately, and it’s thought that we work through feelings like these during REM sleep. So my vivid dreams could just be my subconsious mind trying to process and deal with these feelings of anxiety.
Lack of sleep.
Now that might sound odd to start with, but hear me out. After a few nights of poor sleep, or not enough sleep, we tend to sort of ‘make up’ for it when we do have a full night’s sleep, by having more intense bouts of REM sleep. And more intense REM sleep equals more intense, and vivid, dreams.
I think a combination of anxiety and a run of bad nights are the culprits in my case.
Which is quite good to know, but also a little scary how much a few nights of bad sleep can affect the sleep you then get when you have a good night!
For the record, some other things that can make dreams really vivid all of a sudden are eating spicy foods too close to bedtime, coming off medications like antidepressants, and having sleep apnea. Generally what it comes down to is things messing with our REM sleep and, one way or another, making it more intense.
Pretty fascinating if you ask me!